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Developer Insight: 20 Years of Diablo

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To celebrate 20 years of Diablo, Blizzard sat down with three core team members as they talk how is it to work on Diablo.

Blizzard LogoRob Foote, Lead Producer

Q: How long have you been a Diablo fan?

Rob Foote, Lead Producer: I remember playing Diablo with my brothers; we had one computer and the four of us had to play in shifts. We each had our own characters; I remember the first time my brother showed me a Godly Plate of the Whale and I was like, “Oh man, that’s crazy! How did you get that?!” We were playing online, which was so new to us, so exciting and crazy.

Q: What is it about the Diablo series that appeals to you?

Rob Foote: To me, it’s about power and seeing your character develop over time. To struggle through a portion of the game and then go back and find it’s trivial; playing on higher and higher difficulties and watching them get easier. Besides power, there’s loot. Getting a Godly Plate of the Whale or seeing a green item drop for the first time in Diablo II was a thrill. That’s still true in Diablo III; you see a set item drop and think “is this my last piece of Jade Harvester? I sure hope it is!” and then you open it up to see. Once you get those pieces you think “I’m going to raise my difficulty now, because now I’m a lot more powerful.” Building power over time is a fantasy present across the franchise. The tone of Diablo also appeals to me, because it’s so different from other Blizzard games. It’s so dark, and I love horror in games, film, and novels. It’s a great genre.

"Our designers have seemingly infinite ideas, so it’s usually a question of when we can get something done, and what can we deliver for each patch."

Q: Do you remember the first thing you worked on when you joined the Diablo team?

Rob Foote: My first job was as a game tester for Diablo II on the 1.04 patch. Blizzard was a lot smaller back then, and so was our QA team. We basically had to brute-force test Diablo, and if you’ve played D2, it’s very challenging to do because there’s so many different sets and Uniques. One of the craziest bugs we found arose from the set number of facings for each character. We had this checklist where you hold each weapon type and check every single one of the facings, and I thought “We’re never gonna find anything wrong with this; why even run the checklist?” But sure enough, one of the items, in one of the facings, disappeared from my character’s hands.

Q: How did you get started on the team and in your current role?

Rob Foote: I started at Blizzard 16 years ago, and my first job was as a game tester. I also worked on Lord of Destruction as a tester, worked my way up as a producer on World of Warcraft, and then came back as a producer on Diablo III. Now I’m a lead producer on Diablo III, and our job is to manage the schedule and ensure we get stuff done on time so we can publish patches. A lot of the job is about tasking individuals with work that needs to be done, and meeting with designers and asking what they want to accomplish with a feature. We set priorities with the team about the must-haves and the nice-to-haves, then go to work to get stuff done in the best way possible. Our designers have seemingly infinite ideas, so it’s usually a question of when we can get something done, and what can we deliver for each patch.

"(...)loot is what drives the game to me. They’re like presents; you get to open them and they can dramatically change your character."

Q: What is your favorite Diablo item?

Rob Foote: In the first Diablo, it was the Godly Plate of the Whale. In Diablo II, the Stone of Jordan was THE item that consumed us. For Diablo III . . . I’m very unlucky and for the longest time I was trying to find Lut Socks. I needed them for my Earthquake/Leap build, and I waited for the longest time to get them, and it was the last piece to complete my build so I was very happy when I finally got them.

Q: What classes are you playing currently? Do you play Hardcore or Softcore?

Rob Foote: Last season I played a Witch Doctor, and I’ve played a lot of Barbarian. In Diablo II, Barbarian was one of my favorite classes; I also played a lot of Necromancers and Amazons, so in Diablo III I played Witch Doctor, and now with the Necromancer coming out next I’m excited about playing it again. I’ve played the Necromancer internally and it’s a lot of fun. In Season 8 I played my first Hardcore character to 70 and now I think I’ll probably switch back and forth. Hardcore’s a different game; you’re not pushing to the absolute limit, but instead pushing cautiously to the limit with the knowledge that if you die, you lose it all.

Q: What’s it like working on the Diablo team?

Rob Foote: When people ask me what the best part of working at Blizzard is, I always answer, “the people.” Everyone here loves games and our games in particular, so motivation isn’t a factor. People come in every day to make amazing games and that makes our job very rewarding and pretty straightforward. Great ideas can come from anywhere, and our designers regularly have brainstorm sessions with the entire team. It’s all about having great ideas and putting them into the game. Every year, we get better at making Diablo; we trust each other, we listen to each other, and we collaborate. It’s a great place to be and we’re always excited to come in to work.

Q: What do you think is the historical legacy of Diablo? What will people be reading about the series 10–20 years from now?

Rob Foote: I think if, 20 years from now, someone is flipping through a college textbook on game design, and they see the entry on “Action RPG,” the entry would say “see: Diablo.” Anyone who plays that genre and loves it has played Diablo games. I think Diablo satisfies the need to build heroes over time, grow in power, get awesome loot, slay monsters, play with your friends, and share those experiences with others.

Q: What‘s the one thing that would cause Diablo to no longer be Diablo if we removed it from the game?

Rob Foote: Loot. The loot is what drives the game to me. They’re like presents; you get to open them and they can dramatically change your character. When you get a powerful item, you can really feel the increase in your performance; it’s not a 0.4% increase but a 20% increase in damage and you’re just slaying things you used to struggle with in one hit. That’s really satisfying.

"(...)just “fresh meat!” and you’re dead. And you’re like, “Whoa! What just happened?” "

Q: Can you give us an example of something you’re really excited to have worked on?

Rob Foote: There are many moments, but I think the greatest moment for me was when Reaper of Souls shipped. It was obviously a commercial success, but, more importantly, it was also a huge success in the eyes of our players. The community loved it; our family and friends contacted us saying they loved it, the launch went very smoothly, and it was well-received by a lot of people. Second would be shipping Lord of Destruction, because it was the first time I got a credit in the game industry. I still have the instruction manual with my name printed on it.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the Darkening of Tristram (Patch 2.4.3) and how the patch came to be?

Rob Foote: The initial conversation was along the lines of, “we want to do something for the 20th anniversary; what’s the plan?” Initially, we were going to just add the old-school music from Diablo into Diablo III. That evolved into, “what if we could get you to play a representation of Diablo in Diablo III?” That became, “well, one level was pretty easy to do, there’s only 15 more, let’s just do them all.” We had some very passionate people who were dedicated to making it happen, and it kind of snowballed—in a good way—into having all 16 levels, then finding monsters that work within those levels to make it reminiscent of the Diablo I experience. Someone had the idea to run the game in 640x480 resolution, but it wasn’t really feasible—so we created a visual filter instead to get the pixelated look.

Q: What are some of the series’ most difficult and memorable bosses? Any tips?

Rob Foote: The first time you fight the Butcher. Back in the day, there were no spoilers. You didn’t know what was going to happen when you walked into his room, and he instantly killed you. Just “fresh meat!” and you’re dead. And you’re like, “Whoa! What just happened?” I think that’s very memorable.

Q: If you could go back in time and tell the developers of the original Diablo anything, what would it be?

Rob Foote: I don’t think I’d have them change a thing, even things we perceive as flaws. We never consider those things flaws unless, over time, something changes our perspective. You can’t run in Diablo I, which was fine at the time. After Diablo II came out; it let you run, and so obviously we thought, “oh, this is so much better!” But I never thought about that when I was playing D1.

Q: Is it possible to kill Diablo for good?

Rob Foote: In Diablo, the heroes never celebrate. Even when you think you beat him, Diablo is always coming back. Be on your guard. Evil lurks everywhere, and Sanctuary is a dangerous place.

 

Blizzard LogoJulian Love, Lead VFX Artist

Q: How long have you been a Diablo fan?

Julian Love, Lead VFX Artist: I’d have to go back 20 years to my first year in the industry, 1996. I was working at Sierra Online and our lead programmer brought in a game and said “you’ve got to play this, this is awesome”—it was Diablo. I immediately fell in love. There was a secret pact between the lead engineer, the lead designer, and I—every day we’d just play Diablo together all the time. The producer would show up and be angry at us, or someone would sneak across the hall and say “I died. You’ve got to come help me!” 

Q: What is it about the Diablo series that appeals to you?

Julian Love: Back in 1996 I was playing a lot of Diablo. Some of the guys who played with me wanted to go off on their own and make their own games and we were asking ourselves “what kind of game do you want to make?” and one guy goes, “I want to make a horse racing game!” and I was like, “no way, I want to make a Diablo game!”

And then Diablo II came out and a coworker commented “You know, you show up every day and all you do is talk about Diablo and you know more about it than anyone else. Why aren’t you working there?” So, after six years in the industry, it hit me: “What am I doing? Why am I not working there? I can work there, right?” I quit the next day and I got a job at Blizzard North shortly after.

Q: Do you remember the first thing you worked on when you joined the Diablo team?

Julian Love: What I did was a bit more mundane in nature. We were working on a project that eventually became the engine for Diablo III. Back then you could model a character, but a bunch of steps needed to happen before you could get the character in the game so it could move around. You want to automate as much of it as possible, but back then that wasn’t an industry standard. Nobody had done it. So I worked on the process that lets you turn a polygon into a fully usable character. This process is still in use today; in fact, the Necromancer is being made using the same pipeline I built in 2002.

""Am I going to dig this? Or am I really just done with it?" (...)and just like that I was sucked back into the game again (...)"

Q: How did you get started on the team and in your current role?

Julian Love: I started as a technical artist working on the D3 engine, and about six months in, I noticed people were doing special effects for their characters and—this is going to sound a bit strange—there was a character with a gun. Every time the gun was shot, a little puff of smoke would come out of the barrel. I saw the smoke come out and then shrink down to a point. As you know, smoke does not do that. What I discovered was, many people on the team did their own special effects but no one in particular was passionate about it. They just saw it as something else they had to do.

I really love special effects, so much that at one point I considered working in the film industry. So I built some stuff, everyone loved it and so I said "Seriously, give all of that work to me. Hire someone else to do what I'm doing now and let me do ALL special effects. Nobody gets to do it but me!" because I loved it so much. 

Q: What is your favorite Diablo item?

Julian Love: Two items from Diablo II are my favorites. The first one is Ume's Lament. When I first played Diablo II, the Necromancer completely captured my attention. Playing Hardcore, you have a lot of opportunities to play the same class over and over. I made a few Necromancers and they were terrible. I had no idea what I was doing, so I decided I had to play something else. I picked a Paladin—which was also terrible—but I eventually killed Diablo, and he dropped Ume's Lament. I took it as a sign that I should go back and play more of the Necromancer now that I had a good item for it, so I did—and was much more successful.

Years and years later when I was working at Blizzard North, I had taken a break from the game, so I started again on a fresh character. At that point I had played a lot of Diablo, so I was kind of unsure, like, "Am I going to dig this? Or am I really just done with it?" I walk out of town, the first monster I kill drops a Gull dagger, and just like that I was sucked back into the game again for at least another six months. It was great.

Q: What classes are you playing currently? Do you play Hardcore or Softcore?

Julian Love: Witch Doctor. The variety of builds you can create for Witch Doctor means I've been playing a lot of it. My second class is Monk; he's so fast and responsive it’s hard not to like, but then again, we built him like that. I always play Hardcore and I don't have any Softcore characters. I used to play Softcore exclusively and then I tried Hardcore out of curiosity. Clicking one box changed the whole game. Suddenly everything you do is scarier, and it was awesome. That was it for me. I couldn't go back to Softcore.

"(...)the fact that you can play with just your mouse is crucial to the accessibility the series is known for."

Q: What’s it like working on the Diablo team? What do you do for fun?

Julian Love: There's an old saying for games: "You can't make fun without having fun." I think if you could hear the giggling and laughing at the preposterousness of proposing "let's put over 100 skeletons on the screen for Army of the Dead" and the process of realizing that, you’d understand. No one thinks of these things in isolation, no one sits at their desk alone and comes up with an amazing idea that lights up the world; what happens is we get together and bounce things around and try to one-up each other, and be silly and comical, and propose the most absurd ideas. But it's also very safe to say those things, because there's a lot of trust. Others forgive me for saying something that sounds really off the wall, because they know the next ridiculous, seemingly undoable idea might come from them. Nobody judges the ideas during brainstorms and we let our creativity run wild. We trust that we're coming up with something crazy, but it's always to try and make the game as fun as it can be.

Q: What do you think is the historical legacy of Diablo? What will people be reading about the series 10–20 years from now?

Julian Love: Diablo takes a kind of experience—the fantasy RPG experience—and makes it accessible to everyone. At the time of Diablo’s release, that kind of experience came only to a certain kind of person, and only if you could delve deeply into all the systems, and all the complexities that came with them could you then enjoy the experience. Diablo made it accessible for the rest of us. I can say this with a lot of authority, because I have a relative who I'd say is the quintessential "anti-gamer." He's someone who thinks games are silly; a waste of time. When D3 came out, I convinced him to try it out. After giving him a little direction, he starts clicking, starts killing monsters, and he just lost himself in the game for three hours and had a delightful experience. To me, that's the magic of Diablo.

Q: What‘s the one thing that would cause Diablo to no longer be Diablo if we removed it from the game?

Julian Love: There's a good argument to be made for loot. But I think the important one is preserving the ability to play with one hand. Even though most players will use two hands pretty much all the time, the fact that you can play with just your mouse is crucial to the accessibility the series is known for. If I had to pick a close second, it would be the ability to beat the crap out of so many monsters. Monster-slaying is core to the experience, and if at some point you're not using your skills and items to beat demons into submission, it ceases to be a Diablo game.

"For Army of the Dead, we knew we wanted a long cooldown, flashy spell, and I knew we needed a spell to show people how we were going to bring the Necromancer to the next level."

Q: Can you give us an example of something you’re really excited to have worked on?

Julian Love: I always enjoy trying to figure out new things that will delight our players, and then see their delight when we present it to the world. When we were making the new Witch Doctor skill for Reaper of Souls—Piranhas—the original design was a bit vague, just some kind of summoned debuff, with maybe "some bugs" as a visual. I said, "we need a story here; besides, how will this be different from Locust Swarm? We need something else." You don't want to rehash ideas, and you don't want something that doesn’t fit the class fantasy, but instead something in between, familiar and still new and fresh. Using bugs wasn't good enough, but the idea of animals wasn't bad . . . so what about piranhas? The team latched on to that idea; it was easy to associate it with the Witch Doctor, so we made it. Seeing the reaction as people used that spell for the first time was delightful.

Q: Can you talk about the Necromancer visuals and some of the skills we saw at BlizzCon?

Julian Love: As soon as we decided we were doing the Necromancer, there were skills that made us all say "we can't have a Necromancer without this." Corpse Explosion was at the top of the list. Looking back at Diablo II, the graphics themselves didn't really do the skill justice; the corpses on the ground were iconic, but the notion and the concept of the skill carried it a lot further than visuals did. We have the opportunity to put a strong, clear visual on it, to ensure the skill will feel visceral and fit the fantasy.

When you're working with something with a previous incarnation like this, it's like working with a clay statue that hasn't hardened yet. You're going to touch it and something will change; the question is how.

For Army of the Dead, we knew we wanted a long cooldown, flashy spell, and I knew we needed a spell to show people how we were going to bring the Necromancer to the next level. We gave it a name from a skill which also exists in World of Warcraft, and people just assumed, "oh, okay, they're just going to copy-paste that." Then we got to show it at BlizzCon, and there were literally over one hundred skeletons on the screen. Is this a world record? It has to be. Seeing the reaction from the crowd at BlizzCon was really satisfying. I'm always looking forward to those moments.

Those skills are very grounded and visceral, and that has a lot to do with the visual identity of the Necromancer, who was a very serious, sinister, dark class in Diablo II. We want to make sure we preserve that feeling.

Q: What are some of the series’ most difficult and memorable bosses? Any tips?

Julian Love: I worked on getting patch 1.10 out the door for Diablo II. I showed up, and they were testing Über Diablo, and the guy who was working on it says, “oh, you’re going to LOVE this! It’s almost unbeatable.” He fires up a character outfitted with all rare—yellow—gear, and goes, “look at how HARD this is!” I’m like “You’re kidding, right? Can you get my dual-wielding Barbarian from Battle.net?” A couple days later, I get on my Barbarian, and I say, “okay, watch this,” and I proceed to waste that incarnation of Über Diablo in like 10 seconds. I showed them they were not testing it right, and we started pulling characters from Battle.net to test it, which ended up meaning a 3-month delay to the patch—sorry, everyone!—but in the end the boss was a lot more satisfying.

Q: If you could go back in time and tell the developers of the original Diablo anything, what would it be?

Julian Love: I really like those games for what they are, and it's difficult for me to be critical of anything they've done because that led us to what we have today. A lot of the time, “flaws” are the quirks that make you love a game even more. So, if I had to pick something, it would be a small annoyance; I’d tell them, "don't make gold take inventory space! Put it in its own counter instead" or something. Diablo II is even harder for me, as sometimes I hold it up as the perfect game, but I think if I had to pick something there, I'd say "if you want people to care about resistances, build up to that. Don't let players spend the entire first Act without encountering any poison damage, and then have Andariel wreck them because they had no idea they needed 75% poison resists."

At the same time, these flaws give us stories to tell. The reason we can look back and laugh is because we all got killed by Andariel’s poison damage at one point or another.

Q: Is it possible to kill Diablo for good?

Julian Love: For good? I'm going to give you the smart guy, out-of-the-game-lore answer: you don't want to kill him for good. If we were ever going to make another game and put the Diablo name on it—and I think everyone wants that—we kind of want the Lord of Terror around so you can kill him in it, right? It's OK for an expansion to not have Diablo in it, but every new entry in the series is going to need our titular villain.

 

Blizzard LogoJoe Shely, Senior Game Designer

Q: How long have you been a Diablo fan?

Joe Shely, Senior Game Designer: I've been a fan since the original Diablo. I played it back in high school and my mom yelled at me for not turning the computer off at bedtime—that spellbook wasn’t going to find itself. I also played tons of Diablo II in college; all those sleepless nights worked out for me, though, because now I get to work on Diablo! 

Q: What is it about the Diablo series that appeals to you?

Joe Shely: The original Diablo was all about getting to the bottom of the dungeon and fighting Diablo. It was a challenge just to make it down there alive and find out what's going on. You have to remember, back then you didn’t have the story that's been developed today, it was just "what is happening under this creepy church?" It was very mysterious and I found it compelling.

In Diablo II, I had a Frost Sorceress and I would Frozen Orb everything; I wanted to get to level 99 and I wanted to beat Diablo on Hell difficulty. I liked putting my points into skills and overcharging skills with +skills on items, playing the item game to maximize my skills, and getting Uniques. I felt like I could always keep progressing my character, and I think that's a strength of Diablo—your character can always get stronger and take on new, harder challenges.

"I think the strongest item I have on any character is probably an Ancient Yang's Recurve with really good rolls."

Q: Do you remember the first thing you worked on when you joined the Diablo team?

Joe Shely: I don't know if I can remember the exact thing, but I probably tuned something that frustrated me as a player. At one point, we had an issue with seeking projectiles that tracked the player being biased towards one direction. It was very good at tracking you in one direction, and very bad at tracking you in the other direction; I realized this playing on my Wizard, so I came in to work the next day and fixed it.

Q: How did you get started on the team and in your current role?

Joe Shely: I began working on Diablo III directly shortly after the original release. I came on to help with Reaper of Souls and got to do a bunch of work on monsters, bosses, systems, Adventure Mode, Greater Rift tuning, and more.

Q: What is your favorite Diablo item?

Joe Shely: I definitely like Cam's Rebuttal. It's not the strongest item—I think the strongest item I have on any character is probably an Ancient Yang's Recurve with really good rolls. In terms of pure power, it's a fantastic item, and I was super excited I got it. But when I look at some of the items that do really interesting things, I really like playing the Crusader and having a window of time where I've got another charge of Falling Sword I don't want to waste. There are conditions under which I won't use it, like if there's only one guy left. Sometimes I try to wait as long as possible before using that second charge to maximize the damage from the Firestarter Rune and Consecration.

"(...)the Diablo legacy is very much still being written. There’s this chase of slaying monsters and getting epic loot and being heroic(...)"

Q: What classes are you playing currently? Do you play Hardcore or Softcore?

Joe Shely: Let’s see . . . I’ve got a Hardcore Wizard in Season 8 and a Demon Hunter non-Seasonal. I also have a Hardcore Crusader I haven’t played in a while, but he’s pretty fun too. I think I play Hardcore for the same reason as many of our players—the stakes are increased, your decisions matter in the combat sense. It’s certainly something I do when I want to sit and only play Diablo III, and really focus on that. I won’t try to do anything else while I’m playing my Hardcore character.

Q: What’s it like working on the Diablo team? What do you do for fun?

Joe Shely: The Diablo team is a great group to work for in many ways; it has its own culture, and it’s a culture that evolved around wanting the best for the game and trying to use our resources and the talent of the team to deliver awesome content for our players. At Blizzard, we have this very strong philosophy of supporting our games for years after their release, so that’s very much our focus on the team, looking at the game week-to-week, month-to-month to figure out what the game needs now, and what’s the best thing to deliver to our fans. I’m very proud of our team-wide brainstorms, where we get everyone in a room and we say “here’s the next piece of content we’re going to do,” like a new zone, and we discuss possibilities. “There are new monsters in this zone; what should they be?”

We get a good sense of what we should do in brainstorms; for example, we’ll start with a rough overview of a new zone, like a cold, shrouded moor; there’s going to be some rocky terrain, and it’s misty . . . so what kind of monsters live there? We look at all those and figure out what can we do, and which ideas resonate most strongly with the team. The advantage of team brainstorming is, when it comes time to make the content, whether it’s modeling a creature, animating it, or adding powers, the people who are doing it know they had input into that feature, which makes everyone more passionate.

Q: What do you think is the historical legacy of Diablo? What will people be reading about the series 10–20 years from now?

Joe Shely: I would hope they would read about it and then go play some Diablo, in whatever form that may be, because I think the Diablo legacy is very much still being written. There’s this chase of slaying monsters and getting epic loot and being heroic, and that thread has tied the franchise together. I would expect to see more of that in the future.

Malthael is a pretty tough boss: he’s got multiple phases,(...) and there’s some stuff that can kill you if you’re not watching.

Q: What‘s the one thing that would cause Diablo to no longer be Diablo if we removed it from the game?

Joe Shely: I think loot is the answer. Slaying monsters, getting epic loot, and using your epic loot to slay more monsters is the core loop of Diablo. You can see this all the way from Diablo I to Diablo III. Look at what spellbooks were in Diablo I; they were a form of epic loot that changed your gameplay. When you consider how legendaries have evolved in Diablo III, you can see how the items in Diablo III very much affect your gameplay in some of those same ways—they can make significant changes to your skills, how they're used, the visual effects of your skills, and gameplay mechanics in quite a similar way to how a spellbook would give you a completely new spell.

Q: Can you give us an example of something you’re really excited to have worked on?

Joe Shely: I’m excited about the changes coming to Greater Rifts in 2.4.3. We've reworked the way we spawn monsters in Greater Rifts, and the most obvious effect is that you're going to see a more consistent and, for some tiles, higher density of monsters—but it's really much more. We want the Greater Rift experience to be as varied as possible, and to have plenty of possibilities to be great. When you go down a floor, you should expect great monsters, surprising tiles, cool pylons, etc. The changes we've done in 2.4.3 are aimed at improving that experience. I think it's going to be a good change for our players.

Q: Can you tell us a little about the Darkening of Tristram (Patch 2.4.3) and how the patch came to be?

Joe Shely: I think one of the things we tried to capture with the anniversary event is this direct connection to the Soulstone and the evil of the Soulstone that ties the franchise together. I think the story of Malthael is a very interesting one; you get to meet the Angiris Council and learn about what's going on with these angels, but it's also nice to have an anchor or touchstone in the Red Soulstone, and that's why we wanted to bring it back for the anniversary event. That's also why we put the additional effort to get the D1 cinematic in there, and make a legendary gem you can put in your helm and really capture what I think was probably one of the most memorable events of Diablo 1—you end up impaling yourself.

Q: What are some of the series’ most difficult and memorable bosses? Any tips?

Joe Shely: The Baal fight in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction is pretty hard if you’re a ranged character. He slows you, and you have to deal with the tight constraints of the room. You’re being thrust directly into the fight. Looking at Diablo III, I think Malthael is a pretty tough boss: he’s got multiple phases, a lot of different mechanics, and there’s some stuff that can kill you if you’re not watching. His clouds can be quite dangerous; the adds he summons are some of the most dangerous monsters you’ll face out in the world, and then his ultimate lightning hands attack does extreme damage, so you really have to be on your toes.

Q: If you could go back in time and tell the developers of the original Diablo anything, what would it be?

Joe Shely: I think there would be a lot of back slapping. I’ve always wanted something to happen with the cow when you click on it, the one outside the entrance to the catacombs. Anything, really. I mean you click him, he moos at you, you think something’s gonna happen. I’d like to think we’ve corrected that in the later games, though.

Editor’s note: We’re not sure what Joe is on about here. 

Q: Is it possible to kill Diablo for good?

Joe Shely: All I can say is, he hasn’t died yet, right? He’s not been permanently vanquished at this point. We’ll have to wait and see

(Source)

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      Season 15 is now live, but players are not receiving two Horadric Caches from bounties as intended. Blizzard yesterday acknowledged they've pushed out a hotfix to fix the issue for PC. Console players, however, will need to wait a bit longer before the fix is deployed to PS4 and Xbox.
      Season 15 started on Friday and the second Themed Season titled "Boon of the Horadrim" doubles the amount of Horadric Caches from Bounties.
      Check out our Season 15 Compendium for more details!
      Blizzard (Source)
      Hey all, quick heads up: we're aware of this issue, and working on a hotfix which we're aiming to push out as soon as possible (aiming to push live within the next hour, though this may shift).
      Sorry for the inconvenience, and thanks for your patience in the meantime!
    • By Deadset
      If you're playing in Season 15, this is the place to find the best builds!
      The 15th Season of Diablo continues the seasonal thematic concept, bringing the Boon of the Horadrim this time around. For the duration of Season 15, all Horadric Caches earned from bounties will be doubled. We've put together the best builds for each class to make it easier for you to choose what to play.
      Greetings, fellow denizens of Sanctuary! The 15th Season of Diablo continues the seasonal thematic concept, bringing the Boon of the Horadrim this time around. For the duration of Season 15, all Horadric Caches earned from bounties will be doubled. This is a potent bonus, bringing gear perfection through reforging much faster and earlier this time around. It also places a big emphasis on polishing your bounty farming build. 
      -Deadset
      Why is Patch 2.6.1 a Great Time to Come Back?
      Patch 2.6.1 sees one of the biggest rebalancing efforts to the game since Patch 2.4, the strongest content Patch of the Reaper of Souls cycle. It builds on every good foundation set by it (class diversity, options for underused skills, the introduction of mechanically interesting items) and skyrockets it to post-2.6 damage standards. If you have ever craved a patch where multiple builds are considered top tier GR pushers and practically dozens of combinations are completely capable endgame farmers, this is the one.
      Basics Guides and Conquest Guides
      Before moving on to class impressions and recommendations, I just want to give a quick pointer to the new basics and conquest guides that I compiled recently. If you are new to the game, returning after a long break, or simply have friends that you want to get into Diablo, give those a read:
      Beginner Seasonal Guide - an introduction to Seasons, efficient leveling, crafting and gearing; Bounty Farming Guide - how, when, which bounties to do and the builds to do them with; Regular "Nephalem" Rift Farming Guide - quantity, quality, and methods for Torment rifting; Greater Rift Farming Guide - rewards, competition and strategic considerations for GRs; Conquest Guides for Season 15 - the fast track to the Seasonal Journey completion. As a guide hub, Icy Veins receives a ton of messages on a regular basis for topics like these - I hope they are of use to the community and answer a lot of questions for Seasons to come!
      Barbarians
      Beginner's Guide to Barbarians - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Wastes - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 15 Barbarian with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Immortal King (or Raekor) - Hammer of the Ancients Endgame Build  - A top tier, visceral build that emphasizes melee devastation and pulverizes his enemies to the ground with Hammer of the Ancients. Support Barbarian - Group-oriented build that the entire team depends upon for scouting, long-range monster pulls and protection from harmful crowd control affixes. Raekor - Furious Charge Endgame Build  - A spec that mixes the powers of two sets, combining the all-around utility of IK with the agile Furious Charge devastation of Raekor. Might of the Earth - Earthquake Endgame Build - This spec favors devastating large areas over precise shots, exerts a masterful control over the battlefield and sports a very satisfying rotation. Wrath of the Wastes - Whirlwind Endgame Build  - With a playstyle distilled to its simplest essence, the build opens runs with  Whirlwind and mows enemies down in endless, spinning destruction. Seismic Slam Barbarian - a ruthless visual feast of a build, this cold-focused Barb spec is surprisingly tough and efficient. Frenzy/Thorns Legacy of Nightmares  - More durable than most Barb builds, this spec nails the brutal hand-to-hand melee feel, slicing enemies at incredible speeds. Rend Immortal King  - Nearly forgotten, but certainly not powerless, this exotic build bleeds enemies dry with the DoT powers of Rend. Crusaders
      Beginner's Guide to Crusaders - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Roland  - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 15 Crusader with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Akkhan - Condemn Endgame Build - This build is the embodiment of the melee spellcaster fantasy, exerting powerful crowd control over monsters and decimating them in waves of holy destruction. Akkhan - Blessed Shield Endgame Build  -  This build plays on the archetype of using the shield as a weapon, charging it with holy might and reaping an entire field of demons with a single, mighty toss. Akkhan - Holy Shotgun Endgame Build  - The Holy Shotgun Crusader is a tanky, impenetrable bulwark of steel that absorbs blows and retaliates in blasts of pure, radiant vengeance.  Blessed Hammer Seeker of the Light - The reigning champion of many Seasons, the Hammerdin build is still a beast in terms of AoE damage and solo GR pushing potential. Thorns Invoker  - Likely the tankiest build in the game that is able to push into GR110+. Tough, focused and dead simple, this build almost Thorns itself to the absolute endgame. Sweep Attack Rolands  - This Crusader build revels in high-density rifts, shredding demons to pieces with the highest attack speed possible to the class. Bombardment Legacy of Nightmares  - The Bombardment Crusader spec takes assorted legendary items into a highly mobile, auto aiming and visually spectacular Thorns combination. Shield Bash Crusader - your best bet if you want to pound demon heads in Greater Rifts, if a bit on the clunky side. Demon Hunters
      Beginner's Guide to Demon Hunters - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Unhallowed Essence  - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 15 Demon Hunter with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Natalya/Marauder Sentry Endgame Build - This build focuses solely on the Sentries, providing Demon Hunters with a cold, calculating playstyle cloaked behind a wall of turrets and animal companions. Unhallowed Essence - Multishot Endgame Build  - This build embodies the lone, brooding archer that reaps entire screens worth of demons in massive, fiery bursts of arrows. Marauder - Multishot Endgame Build - the Sentry-based mirror of the multishotting AoE love, this is a timing-intensive, but hugely rewarding build. Marauder - Cluster Arrow Endgame Build  - Requiring a deep understanding of DHs - the need for positioning and strategic companion placement - this build rewards you with great GR potential. Natalya - Rain of Vengeance Endgame Build  - This build transforms the elegance of Strafe into a potent tool that resets the cooldown of Rain of Vengeance, resulting in a potent, bursty playstyle. Shadow - Impale Endgame Build  - The Impale build emphasizes on singling out and bursting down priority targets, resulting in a ninja-like, elite hunting playstyle. Grenades Unhallowed Essence  - A deceptively simple build, whose sustained grenade damage and tanking potential outdoes many of its flashier counterparts. Fan of Knives Legacy of Nightmares  - One of the more exotic specs in the game, the LoN FoK build thrives at low health values and turns them to its own advantage - playing with permanent crits. Chakram Demon Hunter - the ninja star-throwing counterpart to multishotting builds, with comparable AoE and more fun visuals. Monks
      Beginner's Guide to Monks - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Raiment - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 15 Monk with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Sunwuko - Wave of Light Endgame Build  - This unique ranged Monk playstyle blows demons up in screen-wide, incinerating beams of searing light. Support Monk  - Group-oriented build that the entire team depends upon for healing, short-range monster pulls and damage reduction from regular attacks. Uliana - Seven-Sided Strike Endgame Build  - Widely regarded as the most satisfying build of the class, Uliana enriches the Seven-Sided Strike visual with Exploding Palm detonations. Raiment Shenlong - Generator Endgame Build  - The Monk's bread and butter, this build pummels enemies into the ground with the sheer might of the primary fist attacks. Sunwuko - Lashing Tail Kick Endgame Build  - Building on the classic Monk image, this spec jump in, whirlwind kicks the demons' teeth in, and jump to the next pack of monsters. Tempest Rush Monk - a fun and under-appreciated build that balances the fluidity of rushing through enemies with some carefully timed bursts. Exploding Palm/Mystic Allies Inna  - In this Monk take on a summoner build, you rally spiritual fighters at your side that burst entire groups of enemies with Exploding Palms. Necromancers
      Beginner's Guide to Necromancers - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Rathma - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 15 Necromancer with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Pestilence or Trag'Oul - Corpse Lance  - This build alternates long scouting sessions while waiting on cooldowns with the utter devastation once Devour meets Land of the Dead. Rathma - Skeletal Mage - If you like to keep a tight rein on your minions with precise commands, leading the menagerie of undead at your side in a resource-fueled frenzy, this build is the one for you. Command Skeletons Inarius  - Turning the skeleton warriors into a vicious, unrelenting superior to Bane of the Stricken, this build is a Necromancer's one-way ticket to the absolute endgame heights. Generator Necromancer - a unique take on Inarius gameplay, focusing on lightning-fast scythe attacks and intensive resource interplay. Skeletal Mages Trag'Oul  - This is the alternate take on the Mages build, specializing in extreme speed farming, while still offering capable GR pushes. Bone Storm Inarius  - While it took an undeniable nerf, this build is still one of the most relaxing, farming-appropriate melee builds of Necromancers. Corpse Explosion Inarius  - An underappreciated offshoot to the close range Inarius variants, this build is among the most visually appealing and satisfying Necromancer builds out there. Witch Doctors
      Beginner's Guide to Witch Doctors - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Helltooth  - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 15 Witch Doctor with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Arachyr - Firebats Endgame Build  - Requiring minimal upkeep, this build spins a circular, no-aiming-required wave of Firebats obliteration around you. Simple, neat, and utterly effective. Helltooth - Gargantuan Endgame Build  - This staple summoner build offers laid-back playstyle with automated minions, excellent sustain and protective options, and even some space for crowd control. Jade Harvester Endgame Build  - One of the oldest examples of interesting set execution, this melee spellcaster trades the safety of range and hexes for aggressive dives and DoT consumption. Zunimassa Gargantuan Endgame Build - This build thrives behind a thick wall of Fetish summons and is accompanied by lumbering, destructive Gargantuan brutes in a pure minion playstyle. Legacy of Nightmares Spirit Barrage Endgame Build  - Emerging from a convergence of obscure mechanics, this build offers a unique, spell-heavy, bursty playstyle that produces some of the most spectacular visuals of the class. Grasp of the Dead Witch Doctor - a no-cooldown, no-resource take on making corpses rain from the sky; Wizards
      Beginner's Guide to Wizards - Levels 1-70 and Guide with the Starting Set, Tal Rasha  - A guide that will take you through the leveling process efficiently and optimize your Season 15 Wizard with the Haedrig's Gift free set. Firebird (or Tal Rasha) - Meteor - Reaching for the heartstrings of Meteor lovers, this build channels torrents of arcane energy to conjure destructive, burning meteorites into a pure visual feast. DMO - Frozen Orb - Combining the Frozen Orb nostalgia of sorceresses past with the forgotten power of Slow Time wizardry, this build leaves enemies helpless, watching their frozen death creep ever closer. Energy Twister Wizard - a surprisingly undervalued, but horrifyingly potent on the time-bending, whirlwinding destruction from seasons of yore. Vyr Archon - The oldest devotees to the Archon playstyle: Vyr and its complementary Chantodo sets got an awesome boost of power in Patch 2.6.1. Tal Rasha - Explosive Blast - Aside from its distinct cannonade of arcane blasts, this build is very attractive to Wizards due to its ability to include Sage's set for materials farming. Arcane Torrent Tal Rasha - Spawning off the addition of Manald Heal this guide offers not one, but three very fun, tanky, non-Archon lightning variants to build around. Conclusion
      Despite the lack of changes over the past few months, Patch 2.6.1 remains one of the best states of Diablo 3 of all time, with multiple perfectly viable and endgame-worthy builds. Have fun and good luck in Season 15 - I leave you with my hour-long overview of some of my favorite builds in the latest patch!
    • By Stan
      Diablo's Season 15 starts on September 21 and in the second Themed Season, all Horadric Caches earned from bounties will be doubled.
      Cosmetics
      Rewards include new Portrait frames and a pet named Belphegor.

      Boon of the Horadrim Theme
      Season 15 is the second Themed Season in Diablo 3. While Season 14 doubled all Treasure Goblin spawns, Horadric Caches earned from bounties will be doubled in Season 15.
      Blizzard (Source)
      Season 15 begins on September 21! For those among you who enjoy the fresh start a Season brings, we wanted to give you a glimpse of what to expect before you race out the gate as we continue to evolve and bring new things to Themed Seasons!

      New Season Theme
      Season 15 will continue the experiment we began last season with a new seasonal buff. This time, for the duration of Season 15, all Horadric Caches earned from bounties will be doubled. This means that each time you complete a full set of five bounties in an Act, you will receive not one, but two Horadric Caches, for twice the bounty rewards!
      There are a few things to keep in mind with this effect:
      The bonus cache does benefit from difficulty level; it is essentially as though you completed twice the bounties. The rewards inside the Horadric Caches are otherwise unaffected; drop rates or the amount of individual rewards have not been altered. The bonus cache earned from Challenge Rifts is not affected; this is a separate type of cache. Need a refresher on the rewards contained inside a Horadric Cache? Check out our Game Guide for a list of bounty-exclusive Legendary items and more information on the Bounty system.
      In addition to doubling up your Horadric spoils, other celebrations may spring up across the globe that celebrate the nature of this theme! Be sure to keep a close eye on Twitter and Facebook for more information as we move into Season 15!
      New Cosmetic Rewards
      As per tradition, Season 15 will introduce new cosmetic rewards, obtainable by progressing through the Season Journey.
      In addition to the Chest and Glove slots of the exclusive Conqueror Set, a brand-new series of portrait frames themed around the struggle of the Eternal Conflict will be available. For the eager cosmetic pet collectors, we thought you could use a hand. Belphegor is eager to keep a grip on your coin as it accompanies you on your adventures across Sanctuary!
      Season Journey Rewards
      If you’ve been diligently slaying demons for the past few Seasons and reached Conqueror in the Season Journey each time, you’ve surely accrued a few extra stash tabs by now. But players who have not yet earned a total of four stash tabs via the Season Journey can still unlock an additional one by completing the following tasks at the Conqueror tier:
      Finish a level 70 Nephalem Rift on Torment XIII difficulty within 5 minutes Level three Legendary Gems to level 55 Complete 2 Conquests this Season Kill Malthael at level 70 in 1 minute and 30 seconds on Torment XIII difficulty Slay Greed on Torment XIII difficulty Reach Greater Rift level 60 Solo Use Kanai’s Cube to augment an Ancient Legendary item with a level 50+ gem Use Kanai’s Cube to reforge a Legendary item Seasonal Conquests
      Speaking of Conquests, we’re rotating those, too! Returning for Season 15 is Sprinter/Speed Racer, where you’re challenged to complete all of Diablo III’s campaign from Act I to Act V at level 70 in under 1 hour! Next, we have Avarice/Avaritia, where all that glitters is gold—that is, if you can complete a 50 million gold streak outside of The Vault or its Inner Sanctum. Boss Mode/Worlds Apart is a different kind of race; destroy all the bosses in Diablo III at max level on Torment X before your 20-minute timer ends! A fan-favorite for those who enjoy unconventional builds, The Thrill/Superhuman requires completion of a Greater Rift level 45 to be completed Solo, but without any Set items equipped. Finally, Masters of the Universe/Masters of Sets stretches your class set knowledge by requiring a Mastery Rank completion of 8 different Set Dungeons; get ready to start collecting!
      Haedrig’s Gift
      Finally, the Class Sets available for completing certain chapters in the Season Journey courtesy of Haedrig’s Gift have rotated once more. We’ve listed the available Sets below. For those new to Seasons, here’s how it works:
      Completing Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the Season Journey will reward you with three of Haedrig’s Gifts. Each Gift contains a few pieces from one of your Class Sets. Players can only unlock one Class Set in this manner per Season across Hardcore and Non-Hardcore, so choose wisely!
      The set you will receive depends on the Class of the character you’re playing when you open each Haedrig’s Gift. To collect a full Class Set, you’ll need to open all three on the same character.
      Here are the sets granted by Haedrig’s Gift in Season 15:
      Barbarian – Wrath of the Wastes Crusader – Roland’s Legacy Demon Hunter – Unhallowed Essence Monk – Raiment of a Thousand Storms Necromancer – Bones of Rathma Witch Doctor – Helltooth Harness Wizard – Tal Rasha’s Elements
      Frequently Asked Questions
      Q: When does Season 15 start?
      A: Season 15 begins Friday, September 21 at 5:00 p.m. PDT in North America, 5:00 p.m. CEST in Europe, and 5:00 p.m. KST in Asia. For time zone conversion, see this site.
      Q: When do Seasons go live for players on Xbox One and PlayStation 4?
      A: Seasons go live for all console players globally at 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time, regardless of which regional version of the game you may have. Please note that Seasonal Leaderboards for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are still separate by hardware platform.
      Q: When will Season 15 end?
      A: We currently anticipate that Season 15 will be ending on Sunday, December 16 at 5:00 p.m. PDT in North America, 5:00 p.m. CEST in Europe, and 5:00 p.m. KST in Asia.
      Q: Why is the Season end date an estimate?
      A: Traditionally, we have given players two weeks’ notice prior to the ending of a Season. However, we’ve heard the community’s feedback, so going forward, we’ll be providing more comprehensive Season details in the Season First Look blogs. Please bear in mind that this date is an estimate and there is always a chance it may shift. While we will do our best to hit these target dates as closely as possible, we will continue to verify the Season end date at the two-week warning mark.
      Q: When are the non-Seasonal Leaderboards being wiped?
      A: Non-Seasonal Leaderboards are tied to what we call “Eras,” each of which lasts about 6–12 months. The most recent era began November 9. For more information on Eras, please see this post.
      Q: What will happen to older Seasonal and Era records?
      A: Starting with Season 10, we removed old personal bests from Season 1. When Season 15 arrives, we will remove old personal bests from Season 6, and so on. We will be doing the same for personal bests from the previous Era when the next one goes live.
      Seasonal Leaderboard records are not being cleared and will remain archived both in game and on our website.
      Season 15 is almost here! What are your goals for this Season? What do you think of our next Seasonal theme? How will you change your approach to your Season Journey now that you have access to more Kanai’s Cube crafting mats, recipes, and bounty-exclusive Legendaries?
    • By Stan
      Finally we've got the release date of Diablo 3 on Switch! The Eternal Collection will be available on November 2 and can be pre-ordered for $59.99.
      The Eternal Collection includes the Diablo 3 game, the Reaper of Souls expansion, and the Rise of the Necromancer pack.
      Here's a six-minute long video showing off Switch gameplay.
      Pre-Purchase Diablo 3 Eternal Collection
      Blizzard (Source)

      Raise Some Hell
      Ages ago, angels and demons birthed your world in a forbidden union. Now they've come to claim it. Stand tall among Sanctuary's meek and wicked to battle walking corpses, horrifying cultists, fallen seraphs, and the Lords of Hell. When the High Heavens and the Burning Hells war, humanity must be its own salvation.

      Unholy Trinity
      The Diablo III game, the Reaper of Souls expansion, and the Rise of the Necromancer pack are all part of the Eternal Collection: 7 classes, 5 acts, and seasons' worth of demon-smashing.

      Nintendo Switch™ Exclusives
      Discover pieces of Zelda's world in Sanctuary. The Eternal Collection on Switch™ includes the Cucco companion pet, a Triforce portrait frame, and an exclusive transmogrification set that will let your heroes sport Ganondorf's iconic armor. You'll also receive unique cosmetic wings.

      Defy the Darkness
      You're a surrounded world's only defense against Heaven and Hell. Arm yourself with a Joy-Con™ or the Pro Controller, and choose from 7 dark fantasy classes, each with its own way to slay.

      Eternal Replayability
      Evil is never vanquished forever. Whether you're testing yourself against new difficulty settings, playing through the epic story campaign, searching for the perfect skill combo, expanding your collection of gear, racing through random dungeons, or traveling Sanctuary anew each season, you'll always have a fresh challenge to seek out.

      Assemble the Perfect Arsenal
      As you charge through Diablo III's five story acts, you'll collect gear from Sanctuary's furthest reaches, including legendary items that change your entire playstyle and armor sets that provide dynamic bonuses as you uncover more pieces.

      Your Path to Power
      Diablo III's power-building system is flexible enough for an afternoon or a full season. Push back the Burning Hells with spears, storms, and zombie dogs—over 800 unique abilities to unlock and master. Turn fire into lightning, split your magic blasts, and change your skills to create devastating power combinations.

      It's Dangerous to Go Alone
      Jump into local, action-RPG multiplayer with up to three friends, and crush demons from your comfiest couch cushions, no internet required—or fill out the ranks of your party online. You can play Diablo III shared-screen on a single Nintendo Switch™, remotely on up to four Nintendo Switch ™ consoles, or combine TV and handheld play.

    • By Blainie
      Don't miss out on your chance to grab one!
      The only thing more elusive than a Rainbow Goblin in game is a Rainbow Goblin in real life, but here's your chance to grab one!
      To celebrate the Season of Greed, we are releasing a robust and thorough Goblin farming guide for your murderous, loot-craving pleasure! It will take you through a tried-and-tested goblin farming route, suggest some suitable builds and equipment adjustments for the purpose, and even shed some light on goblin farming metagame and etiquette.
      But enough talk - it's your turn to take blade and spell to their mischievous hides! While using our route (or your own!), take a screenshot with your Season 14 character and a double goblin spawn - and post it in the comments below. Your post will act as an entry in a random raffle to win one of the 20 plush toys we will be giving away.

      For the general rules of our giveaways, please refer to this post. The post-specific rules for this giveaway are as follows:
      You need to be on a Seasonal character. Make sure we can see your character and the goblins in the screenshot. (Console players, do your best with the pause screen, if necessary - we understand it is slightly more difficult to do this than on PC.) The giveaway will end on July 2, 2018 at 23:59 CEST. Multiple entries will be disqualified. Winners will be chosen at random after the contest ends. Grab your guide, grab your nephalem and get finding! You might even be lucky enough to find a Rainbow Goblin in-game and outside - as Abd Al-Hazir put it - a ludicrous notion, truly!
      We have contacted all winners and the prizes have been sent. If you received a message and did not reply in time, your win is now void and no longer valid. All winners were given an appropriate amount of time to respond and you can no longer claim the prizes if you did not reply, as they have been re-rolled to another entrant.
      Thank you all for taking part!